Sunday, October 6, 2013

Kawaii-fy Your Phone with CocoPPa

I'm really late to the party with this one (as always), but I just got my first iPhone, which means I can finally indulge in all the mega-cutesy accessories and apps specially made for the most popular phone in the world. I'm still on the hunt for the perfect vomit-worthy-cute case, but for now I've used the notorious CocoPPa app to give my iPhone screen an overhaul. Here it is:

Sickeningly sweet, right? I had a lot of fun just browsing through the icons and saving my favorites; I have some hoarder-y tendencies (hello nail polish collection), and this is a good way of indulging in my proclivity for cute things without cluttering up my tiny studio with unnecessary possessions.

Since the essentials of how to use the app are fairly simple and covered by dozens of existing tutorials I won't rehash that. What I will summarize are the drawbacks and glitches, and give tips to get around them. This will be a text-heavy post so the rest will be after the jump.

CocoPPa is a Japanese app which creates a shortcut icon for each of your apps, like a desktop icon does for programs on your PC. What this means is you do have to keep the original app--if you delete them, the icons made in CocoPPa will not work, so just put them all in a folder and shove them onto a separate page.

After playing around extensively for a few days, there are two glaring problems which stand out:

1. The iOS icons that come with your phone are tough to replace, since they don't come up in CocoPPa's App Search. Also, the App Search in general is incomplete and not every app in the Apple Store shows up.

2. CocoPPa's Search function is not the best, since it is an app translated from Japanese, and any user can submit icons or wallpapers and tag them in their own language. This makes it tricky to use Search, since the stuff that's submitted with Japanese (and occasionally, Korean) tags don't come up when you search in English.

Fear not though, there are solutions to almost every problem. Not always perfect solutions, but solutions nonetheless. Here are a few tips on turning your iPhone or Android into a minimalist's nightmare.

❥For native iOS apps, you have either the option of downloading a separate app which has the same function (such as WhatsApp for SMS, Google Voice for calls, etc.) or enter the app's URL to link the app. Not all of them have known URLs--here are the ones I was able to find:

Messages - SMS:
Email - mailto:
Photos - photos-redirect://
Videos - videos:
Music - music:
Calendar - calshow:
Maps - maps:
App Store -
iTunes -
Safari - [http://homepage URL]
Gamecenter - gamecenter:

❥Currently there are no known URLs for the Phone, Calculator, Clock, Weather, Notepad, and Settings apps, but you can download a different app to perform these functions (except for Settings).

❥With iOS 4 and 5, if you don't want to use a different phone app you can make the Phone icon to dial your own number and cancel the call, which will leave you in the native Phone app; from iOS 6 onwards the Phone app is automatically closed upon ending the call, however you can press the Sleep button to end the call and when you Wake your phone again you will be in the Phone app (yes it's a pain). There is sadly no URL scheme to simply open the Phone app.

❥To get to all the stuff that doesn't come up when you search in English, use their Advance Search (the magnifying glass next to the Search bar on the Find page) to select color specifications which will include non-English tagged icons and wallpapers. There are also a selection of tags in Japanese, Korean, and English.

❥If you can't find an app through CocoPPa's App Search, try searching for the URL through This isn't complete either since the URL has to be registered by the app developer, but it has at least some apps that CocoPPa doesn't catch.

❥I haven't seen this complaint anywhere else so it may be unique to iOS 7, but if you link Google via the URL option, each time you load the Google search page it will change your cute icon to the standard blue Google "g"--booooring! Geez Google stop being all creepy possessive. It really drove me up a wall and as far as I can tell there's no way to prevent it, so use a different website as your homepage/search engine to avoid this. I use, which is powered by Google.

❥CocoPPa is a shortcut icon, so it pulls up a Safari page which then redirects you to the proper app. Clear your Safari browser periodically. I've come across an error of sorts where occasionally in the middle of redirecting you get a popup that asks "Open this page in '[App Name]'?". When you get this error, press the Home button and click the icon again to make it work. Again, I've not seen this problem before so it may be unique to iOS 7 since it is new.

❥Speaking of which, each time you open an app via its shortcut icon, it adds a new tab to your Safari browser. Clear your browser often! As of 10/13, CocoPPa has announced that this bug will be fixed with the next update.

❥There's been complaints of using CocoPPa shortcuts causing the iPhone screen to go white and freeze; after doing some quick Googling, I'm not confident that this issue is necessarily with CocoPPa itself since it seems to be a common enough issue (just search "iPhone white screen of death) with iPhones in general. Either way, this has happened to me once but I simply powered down and restarted by holding down the Sleep + Home button and there no damage to my phone, so I am not unduly worried.

Bottom line: This app does have its potholes and limitations, but unless you want to jailbreak your phone, CocoPPa is the easiest way to personalize your interface. Making a program that interacts with an existing unrelated software can be tricky, but hopefully CocoPPa and iOS will update frequently and resolve any issues.
Hope you found these tips helpful! I will be updating this post with anything new I learn.


  1. What was the url for your camera? not your photos but your camera app

    1. There is currently no known URL for the iOS camera app, but you can download a separate camera app from the App Store and link CocoPPa to that.

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